There is apparently no love lost between the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs after the AFL grand final, with reports suggesting a petty act at the decider could be setting up a heated rivalry.
The Demons won their first grand final in 57 years when they trounced the Bulldogs in Perth last months, but the seed for the growing feud was planted after the Dogs' preliminary final win over Port Adelaide.
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Head coach Luke Beveridge defended footage of the team singing 'Freed from Desire' in the rooms after their preliminary final win, saying the team was entitled to celebrate after making the grand final from outside the top four.
While he was nonetheless disappointed footage of the celebration, which was otherwise largely well received in the football world, it would seem the Demons took notice.
After their grand final victory, the Demons reportedly ventured back out onto the Optus Stadium turf after the crowd had left, for their own rendition of the Gala anthem, which is commonly used as a football chant in Europe and the UK.
Speaking on SEN, AFL reporter Sam McClure said the Bulldogs had caught wind of the Demons' post match antics - and weren't particularly impressed.
McClure said there were certain senior players from both sides who didn't see eye to eye long before the grand final.
“I don’t think there’s too much love lost between the two clubs, both the administrators and players,” McClure said.
“This is a rivalry full of nastiness and there’s a few things that stem from it. There are senior players from both sides that don’t particularly get along.
“The fact that Melbourne sang the same Bulldogs song they sang in the rooms that leaked on social media, it got back to the Dogs and it didn’t go down too well."
Seen this video? Amazing! This incredible group ❤️🤍💙 pic.twitter.com/cXsG7spbmT
— Craig Pty Ltd (@CraigPtyLtd) September 11, 2021
While McClure said he wasn't expecting any fireworks to come of it, it laid the groundworks for the teams to engage in similar rivalries between top teams in years gone by.
“For me, one team lost and one team won and we move on and get over it, but I think this will be a rivalry (moving forward) that isn’t necessarily like Hawthorn and Geelong with the Kennett curse, but it’ll be in the same suburb," he said.
Dogs to be fully vaxxed by AFL pre-season
Every Western Bulldogs AFL player has had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine with the grand finalists determined to have their squad fully vaccinated before their return for pre-season.
The AFL is yet to officially release its policy on vaccination, and whether it will be mandatory, but two days after losing Saturday's grand final the entire Bulldogs AFL squad in Perth rolled up their sleeves.
"We did it on Monday in Perth - it was just an easy way to do it," Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains told SEN radio on Thursday.
"We didn't necessarily mandate it but at the same time didn't have any players who had an issue with it.
"Depending on where they'll be in a number of weeks' time, we'll organise for them to be able to get their second dose so all of our men's playing group will be fully vaccinated prior to the start of pre-season."
The majority of Bulldogs staff and AFLW players are also "either first dose or fully vaccinated", while Whitten Oval hosted a pop-up vaccination hub last weekend.
"It's clearly the biggest issue we all need to confront," Bains said.
"It was startling to see the case numbers in Victoria today, so clearly the route forward is going to have to be getting vaccinations up to a decent level
"From our point of view, the club's stance is to encourage vaccinations."
Bains anticipated vaccination would be the only way for the AFL to regain a sense of normality next season.
"Clearly there'll be state government policies and requirements as well as other corporate requirements as well," he said.
"From our industry point of view, if airlines make it mandatory, say going into 2022, that obviously puts an interesting spin on it for us, regardless of what policy we may have.
"The AFL itself is working through what that policy might be - they spoke to CEOs and presidents about that in grand final week, without there being too much detail as to what that might look like.
"Then it does fall to us in the context of looking at what both the state government and AFL do to make a decision on what we might put in place. But our strong position is to encourage it and we feel that it's the only way out."
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